Wednesday, November 30, 2011

No time to document my comings and goings at present but Mr Percival ventured out to see King Mob @ 229 The Venue in Great Portland Street, London W1 – 17 November 2011.

Glen Matlock’s career to date has included playing with many of his own personal favourite bands and artistes – ranging from the Faces through to Iggy Pop. His latest venture is King Mob, featuring the Pretenders Martin Chambers on drums, Steve Parsons aka Snips (ex Sharks) on vocals plus guitarists Sixteen and Chris Spedding, with Matlock himself of course on bass duties.

I’d had the band’s debut album for about 10 days before this first London gig and was really looking forward to seeing them. The album has a 1950s classic rock’n’roll sound – packed full of energy, excellent riffs, a raw edge, atmospheric vocals from Snips and some great catchy songs.

As I walked to the venue I realised that it was literally a stone’s throw across the Euston Road from where the Thames Television studios used to be where the Pistols achieved national notoriety on 1st December 1976 when they appeared on the “Today” show hosted by Bill Grundy. Spedding and Matlock go back a very long way, with Spedding having produced the first Pistols studio demos back in May 1976. 35 years on, when many bands are struggling to pull a crowd, it was great to see a good turnout with fans travelling from as far as the Netherlands. The 229 is an excellent venue with a high stage and good sound. The support band, The Bermondsey Joyriders accompanied by the legendary MC5 manager John Sinclair on spoken word, warmed the crowd up nicely.

King Mob took to the stage around 9.45pm for their third ever gig, after shows in Carlisle and Bristol earlier in the week. They went straight into ‘Lover of High Renown’, also the albums opening track. I was amazed at Snips as a front man. Very eye catching with his hair pushed up almost into a bouffant hair do – strolling around the stage and grabbing everyone’s attention. After the third song, ‘Vah Vah Voom’, Martin Chambers left his drum kit to introduce the band with a white towel draped around his neck like a boxer in the ring. This is a band that clearly enjoys each other’s company and playing live as could be seen from the smiles from the whole group.

‘American Slaves’ was up next, written by Snips and one of the stand out tracks on the album with its driving beat, ‘I said hip – hip – hip hooray for the USA’. I can see the band being a big hit in the US, especially if they’re able to dip into an audience with a love of bands like the Stray Cats and attendees of events like the Rockabilly Rave and the annual Coney Island festival.

The set closed with ‘China Waters’, ‘Selene Selene’ and ‘King Mob’ with ‘Who’s Chasing Who’ saved for the encore. All in all a highly enjoyable night – great bands playing in a great venue in front of an enthusiastic audience. What more could anyone want?

My lasting memory of King Mob is of a group of talented musicians playing music that they all enjoy for the fun of it. Exactly how it should be – but so rarely is. Have a listen to the album and go to see them if they play near you; you’ll not be disappointed.

Martin Percival

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